There are times when you miss a child’s hockey game because you’re at another child’s hockey game. These situations are unfortunate but as long as you balance getting to all your kids’ games at some point through the season, everything seems to work out.
Then there are times when you miss a hockey game due to circumstances beyond your control: you’re stuck in traffic or your flight got cancelled. These situations suck.
Last weekend, my flights home from a weekend getaway got cancelled and I missed a game that I was fully committed to attending and really looking forward to. While frequent texts from my husband in attendance provided some solace, it just wasn’t the same. My youngest hockey-playing child is in her last year of hockey so my minor hockey mom days are winding down. Each game, event, and tournament has become a big, honking chunk of nostalgia and I find I don’t want to miss a single minute.
It was not so long ago when all three of my kids played hockey and I welcomed the end of the hockey season with unbridled relief. At the time, there was just no pause button on our season and, despite older friends imploring me to enjoy it while it last, I saw no end in sight. Then, we had our first hockey season with only one player and it wasn’t nearly so time-consuming and overwhelming. I no longer felt compelled to do the private happy dance in the garage when her team was eliminated from the play-offs.
There will be no happy dance at all this year. There will be no pause button either.
I’m not yet sure how I will react to a September with no try-outs or sort-outs. I know I’ll have mixed emotions when driving by our local arena and witnessing hockey moms and dads unloading the van of kids and gear all day every Saturday. I know I’ll miss those hockey moms whose paths only intersected with mine at the local hockey arena. I know I’ll have to come up with another excuse to explain my messy home. I also know I’ll probably still wake up at the crack of dawn, even though there no 6:00AM practice to go to!
Until then, I find myself soaking in every “last” hockey memory. I’m grateful for so many familiar faces on my daughter’s last hockey team, for the tournament we attended that had been her very first as a Novice player, for the phenomenal Player of the Game puck that gets added to an already phenomenal collection of Player of the Game pucks, for the ratty hockey blanket that still keeps me warm in those arenas without functioning heaters, and for all the pictures I take that she’s now actually posing for this year instead of doing an about-face.
I know it’s high time I started thinking about what I’m going to do with all my free time next season, but that will come later. For now, I’ll just revel in making as many hockey memories as possible.
Three cheers for hockey memories – may they continue to pile up!
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